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Recent News and Events

"The Aftermath of the Israeli Elections" Lunch Discussion with Professors Guy Ziv, Michael Brenner, and Morad El-Sana

April 10, 2019
Following the Israeli elections on April 9, CIS hosted a discussion on the election results. Professors Michael Brenner (Dept. of History, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies), Guy Ziv (SIS) and Morad El Sana (Anthropology) discussed the implications of the April 9 Israeli elections in forming the next government of Israel. Co-sponsored by CIS and AU Hillel.

Shesh besh: Performance by the Arab-Jewish Ensemble of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

March 28, 2019
Attendees gave Shesh Besh a standing ovation at their performance on 3/28. Shesh Besh is the Arab-Jewish Ensemble of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, bringing together Jewish musicians of the first ranks of the orchestra with the finest Arab musicians in Israel. Co-sponsoring the concert with CIS were the AU Music Program and The Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues. Co-sponsored by CIS and the Department of Performing Arts. Shesh Besh appeared through PMI, Performance Music International. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation for this Shesh Besh performance and AU student music workshop on 3/27. 

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Start-Up Nation Technology Fair

March 28, 2019
This interactive tech pop-up event featured early-stage Israeli companies exhibiting innovative products and technologies. Students networked with founders and CEOs, explored internship and employment opportunities with hot startups, and received free LinkedIn headshots.

"Women and Politics In Israel Today" with Einat Wilf and Tamara Wittes

March 26, 2019
Former Member of Knesset Einat Wilf offered remarks about women in Israel and discussed women and politics in Israel today with Tamara Wittes (Brookings Institution). Co-sponsored by CIS and Women & Politics Institute, SPA.

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"Golda Meir: A Life in Politics" Amos Perlmutter Lecture with Francine Klagsbrun

March 19, 2019
Author Francine Klagsbrun discussed Golda Meir and her legacy. Klagsbrun’s book, Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, a biography of the fourth prime minister of Israel, won the Jewish National Book Award’s “2017 Book of the Year Award.” Moderated by Pamela Nadell, Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women’s and Gender History. Co-sponsored by School of Public Affairs, CIS and Jewish Studies Program.

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Global Israel: Switzerland

February 26, 2019
H.E. Martin Dahinden, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, Simon Geissbühler, Deputy Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, and Tammy Ben-Haim, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel discussed a long history of Israel-Switzerland relations. After an incredible panel, our distinguished guests joined the students in light conversation over a delicious dinner featuring Swiss-Israeli fusion cuisines. 

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"Transformation: The poetry of translation" with barbara goldberg, mfa '85

February 6, 2019
Bulgarian Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev presented the "Valentin Krustev Award for Translation" to renowned DC poet and translator, Barbara Goldberg, for her translations of Israeli poetry. Ms. Goldberg read from her translations of 50 Israeli poets on the subject of love and war. The award was presented by the William Meredith Foundation in conjunction with Nancy at Ninety: A Retrospective of Form and Color, an exhibition of work by DC-based sculptor Nancy Frankel. 

"Israel in the American Mind: the Cultural Politics of Us-Israeli Relations" with Author Shaul Mitelpunkt

February 5, 2019
Professor Shaul Mitelpunkt (University of York) discussed his new book, Israel in the American Mind.
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Read More on Student Israelity.

"Between Antiquity and Modernity - Can the Hebrew Language Survive its Revival?" with Meir Shalev

December 3, 2018
Meir Shalev discussed the sustainability of the revival of the Hebrew language. Shalev is one of Israel's best known novelists and a columnist for Yediot Ahronot, Israel's most popular newspaper. Co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies and the Department of Literature. 
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When Nature Becomes Ideology

November 16, 2018
Joined by Columbia University Professor Avinoam Shalem, this lecture discussed the village of Lifta, located on the western slopes of Jerusalem, and how it became the example for a rich analysis of the processes of historical memory and forgetfulness in the Levant, investigating how colonial and political legacies structure our relationships to urban and rural landscapes.
Read More on Student Israelity. 

GLobal Israel: Japan

November 14, 2018

This discussion on Israel-Japanese relations in trade, technology, and counter-terrorism was hosted at the Embassy of Japan with Deputy Ambassador of Japan to the United States Kazutoshi Aikawa, Minister of Public Diplomacy at Embassy of Israel Tammy Ben-Haim, AU Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies Michael Brenner, and Former Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy of Israel-Tokyo, AU Professor Dan Arbell.
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Read More on Student Israelity. 

SIS Water and Peace Graduate Practicum Research Presentation

November 12, 2018
The SIS Summer 2018 Graduate Practicum, “Environmental Peacebuilding in the Middle East,” presented their research findings with faculty advisors Dr. Eric Abitbol and Dr. Ken Conca.  Seven members of the practicum team––Ann Williamson, Gloria Schultz, Jia Jiameizi, Maggie Burns, Michael Band, Milad Abraham, and Rita Kirkpatrick––reported on the joint project between the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group and the Arava Institute in using date farming to improve relations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Center of Israel Studies, the Global Environmental Policy program, and the Office of International Study at American University all co-sponsored this program.
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The Post Mahmoud Abbas Period: The Palestinian Succession race

October 31, 2018
Professor Ido Zelkovitz, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College in Israel, gave a presentation on the Palestinian succession race in the post-Abbas period. AU Professor Guy Ziv moderated the discussion that followed.

Global Israel

Israelis in Africa: "The Kenya-Israel Connection"

October 29, 2018
The first Global Israel series event of the fall 2018 semester, this discussion on the Israeli diapsora in Africa, and in particular, the Kenya-Israel connection, was hosted at the Embassy of the African Union with Embassy of Kenya's Deputy Ambassador David Kahiro Gacheru, Embassy of Israel's Political Counselor Einat Weiss, and Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies Professor Michael Brenner. We were welcomed by Policy Officer at the Mission to the African Union Seraphine Manirambona.

Israel Abroad: The Israeli Diaspora Past and present 

International Conference

October 28-29, 2018
This conference focused on the Israeli diaspora from New York to Nairobi and from Berlin to Mumbai, Israelis around the world, and featured a panel of speakers that included Israel studies scholars, authors, diplomats, and philanthropists. Panelists included: Gur Alroey, Maya Arad, Dan Arbell, Dan Ben-David, Michael Brenner, Erran Carmel, Roni Floman, Calvin Goldsheider, Lilach Lev-Ari, Pamela Nadell, Ruby Namdar, Shelly Oria, Uzi Rebhun, Shira Ruderman, Randa Serhan, Natalie Shammay, Maina Chawla Singh, Lauren Strauss, Elad Strohmayer, Ronit Gudes Totah, Ori Yehudai, and Guy Ziv.
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Triadic Coercion: Israel's Targeting of States that Host nonstate actors

October 23, 2018
This book launch featured with authors Boaz Atzili (AU) and Wendy Pearlman (Northwestern University) about their new book,Triadic Coercion: Israel’s Targeting of States That Host Nonstate Actors, which explores the phenomenon of states targeting other states that host belligerent nonstate actors in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Israel's Technology Economy with David Rosenberg

October 18, 2018
David Rosenberg, Haaretz business editor, discussed his new book, Israel’s Technology Economy: Origins and Impact, which uses start-up companies as lens to understand the way Israel’s unique history, political system, and economy have contributed to Israel being one of the world’s leading centers of high technology.

Israel's Jewish and Democratic Balance: Arab Citizens of Israel and the Nation-State Law

September 27, 2018
A panel discussion with Arie Dubnov, Max Ticktin (George Washington University Chair of Israel Studies), and Professor Mohammed Wattad (Zefat Academic College Dean of Law) was moderated by AU Professor Lauren Strauss. Co-sponsored by AU CIS, Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, UMD; Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues, and the Washington Hebrew Congregation.

"Operation Finale" Exclusive AU Screening

August 27, 2019
Partnered with AMC Mazza Gallerie and AU's Academic Learning Communities office, CIS presented a private screening of MGM's film, Operation Finale.
Read a review of "Operation Finale" on Student Israelity.

In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea

April 10, 2018
Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, discussed his new book, In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea with Arie Dubnov, Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University.
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The United States and the Israel-Palestine Peace Process: Past and Future

March 26, 2018


The United States and the Israel-Palestine Peace Process


Joined by the Mohamed Said Farsi Chair for Islamic Peace, CIS hosted this panel discussion which featured previous negotiators, advisers and participants who played influential roles in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process including, Ghaith al-Omari, Leila Hilal, William B. Quandt and Itamar Rabinovich. This discussion was moderated by SIS Associate Professor Dr. Anthony Wanis-St. John, and hosted by SIS Professor and Farsi Chair Elizabeth F. Thompson, CIS Director Michael Brenner, and Chairs in Israel Studies Seymour and Lillian Abensohn. Co-Sponsored byMiddle East Studies@AU, Arab World Studies, SIS International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, AU Negotiation Project and AU International Relations Society.

Israel and the Gulf States: Talk by Michael Greenwald, former United States Treasury Attache to Qatar and Kuwait

March 1, 2018

Shifting power dynamics in the Middle East have left the region looking vastly different then it did only 10 years ago. Some experts have argued that the growing strength of Iran has pushed the Gulf States to form an unofficial strategic relationship with an unlikely ally: Israel. Michael Greenwald joined us for a discussion on the past, present and future of Israel's diplomatic relationship with the Gulf States.

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"The Arab Population in Israel 1948 to Today"

February 11, 2018

One fifth of Israel's population are Arab citizens. While they share Arab language and culture, they are a very heterogeneous population. Some are Muslims, while others are Christians; some are Bedouins, and others are Druze. Some live in exclusively Arab towns and villages, while others reside in mixed cities such as Haifa and Akko. Most are Israeli citizens, but many residents of Jerusalem are not. Some regard themselves as Israeli Arabs, others call themselves Palestinian citizens of Israel. This conference brought together an expert group of scholars and activists, who spoke on the changing agendas and aspirations of this diverse population. It shed light on existing projects for Jewish-Arab cooperation in Israel and on initiatives for a common future.The conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, Arab World Studies Program, Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues.

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Amos Perlmutter Memorial Lecture: "The U.S. and Israel: Facing a Changing Middle East"
An Insiders Perspective with Daniel B. Shapiro

Monday, January 22, 2018

Appointed by President Barack Obama, Daniel Shapiro served as the United States Ambassador to Israel from July 2011 until the end of the Obama Administration. As Ambassador, Shapiro won praise from leaders of both countries for his deft management of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Among Shapiro's major contributions were negotiating the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding for U.S. military aid to Israel, unprecedented public outreach in fluent Hebrew to Israel's diverse communities, and 40 percent growth in U.S.-Israel trade. Shapiro's time as the Ambassador to Israel followed a diverse career of ove3r 20 years in senior foreign policy and national security positions in the United States Government. 

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"Israeli Cuisine as a Reflection of Israeli Society" Conference

Sunday and Monday, November 12-13, 2017

Renowned Israeli chefs and scholars gathered for a day-long conference of passionate discussion surrounding the dynamic world of Israeli cuisine and culture. The conference explored the intersection of Israeli cuisine and society through the lens of history, demographic changes, and the integration of various cultures into the nation. The conference featured scholars in the fields of food studies, cultural studies, and anthropology, in tandem with chefs, writers, and historians. Featured on JTA and i24 news.

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"Israeli Soldiers, Sudanese Refugees, and a Talmudic Debate: " Haim Watzman in Conversation with Professor Lauren B. Strauss

Monday, November 6, 2017

Haim Watzman is a Jerusalem-based writer, journalist, and translator. He is known for his translations of literary works by leading Israeli writers and scholars, including David Grossman, Tom Segev and Amos Oz. He talked about his translation work, as well as his own writing, most notably, Necessary Stories, a new collection of his short fiction. He discussed his work with Lauren B. Strauss, who teaches modern Jewish history and literature in American University's Jewish Studies Program (JSP). This event was co-sponsored by CIS and JSP.

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Laura Blumenfeld and Samuel G. Freedman in Conversation: "Diaspora Jews and Israel in the Trump/Netanyahu Era"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Journalists and authors Laura Blumenfeld and Samuel G. Freedman discussed diaspora Jews and Israel in the era of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The discussion was moderated by Professor Pamela Nadell.

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Global Israel Series

Global Israel is a series of events at Washington, DC embassies exploring Israel's diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations with other countries. Attendance at Global Israel Events is restricted to AU students, faculty, and friends of the Center for Israel Studies.

Read about this series:
Fall 2016 Focus on Israel-Europe Connection

Empanadas and Diplomacy: Uruguay Embassy Event Kicks-off "Global Israel" Series.

The Cyprus-Israel Connection

October 19, 2017 The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus
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Global Israel: The Israel-Africa Connection

September 13, 2017 The Mission of the African Union
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Global Israel: Embassy of Italy

December 6, 2016
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Global Israel: Screening of "Germans and Jews"

November 28, 2016 Embassy of Germany
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The Israel-Europe Connection: Past and Present Ties

November 7, 2016 Embassy of Slovakia
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India and Israel: A Growing Relationship

February 29, 2016 Embassy of India
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Embassy of Germany

November 2, 2015

Embassy of Ethiopia

October 8, 2015
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Empanadas and Conversation

September 9, 2015 Embassy of Uruguay
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Israel's Second Founding: The Six-Day War 50 Years Later

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Six Days in June 1967 changed the very essence of the Jewish state. Israel emerged with a territory three times as big as before the war. It controlled the holy Jewish sites in Jerusalem and Hebron, but also a substantial Palestinian population. While it was a military and religious triumph for some, other claimed that Israel lost the war on the seventh day, when it decided not to return from a significant part of the newly conquered territories.
A panel of experts discussed the long term implications of the war for Israel. CIS director Michael Brenner moderated the discussion with Alon Confino (University of Virginia/Ben-Gurion University), Arie Dubnov (George Washington University), Yoav Gelber (American University/IDC Herzliya), Benny Morris (Ben Gurion University/Georgetown University), Yoram Peri (University of Maryland) and Tamara Wittes (Brookings Institution).

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Cybersecurity in an Age of Uncertainty: U.S.-Israel Perspectives

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Through a series of four expert panels, the all day conference explored cutting-edge U.S.-Israel cyberpolicy issues involving national security, crime, human rights, and the digital economy. Topics included active cyber military operations, internet freedom, cybertheft, and technological capabilities. Each panel explored the responsibilities of various governmental agencies as well as the roles of the private sector and the public in each country.
Co-sponsored by American University in partnership with American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Additional co-sponsors: Maryland/Israel Development Center, Internet Society Washington DC Chapter, and Future of Privacy Forum. Support provided by Bender Foundation in memory of Sondra D. and Howard Bender.

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View Morning Video.
Cybersecurity and Human Rights (Beginning of video to 1:42:20)
The Cybersecurity Industry (1:42:50 to end of video)

View Afternoon Video.
Cybertheft Prevention and Response (Beginning of video to 1:27:28)
Cyber Security and National Security Policies-the U.S. and Israel (1:27:29 to end of video)

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Amos Perlmutter Memorial Lecture: "Israel and the West in a Changing Middle East" with Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon

Monday, March 6,2017

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon delivered this year's Amos Perlmutter Memorial lecture, sponsored by CIS and the School of Public Affairs.
This was Moshe Ya'alon's first public talk since he formally announced that he will be forming a new political party and seeking the position of Prime Minister of Israel in Tel Aviv.

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"Contemporary Writing in Israel: Can You Avoid Politics?" with Assaf Gavron

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Our Sondra D. and Howard Bender Israeli Writer Series on "The New Generation of Israeli Writers" continued with a discussion with acclaimed writer Assaf Gavron. Gavron's most recent book, The Hilltop addresses the reality in the West Bank, including violence, greed, lust for power and the blurring of values, but also a burning ideological passion. The book was a bestseller and won major awards in Israel, applauded by both sides of the political spectrum. A book-signing and dessert reception followed the discussion.

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"ON THE MAP: Writing Israel's Story" with Dani Menkin

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dani Menkin, author, filmmaker, and two time Israeli Academy Award winner showed clips and spoke about the process of writing and creating his newest documentary. ON THE MAP, the uplifting, inspiring, and true story of Maccabi Tel Aviv's 1977 European Championship. The film recounts how Israeli basketball team gave hope to a nation in time when Israel was still suffering the heartache of the 1972 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv. Dani Menkin was the first speaker in the Sondra D. and Howard Bender Israeli Writing Series, which focused on the "New Generation of Israeli Writers." This event was co-sponsored by the School of Communication's Media That Matters series and Center for Media and Social Impact.

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Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Maryland, discussed his latest book, Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989.

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The Legacy of Shimon Peres

Monday, November 14, 2016

The AU Center for Israel Studies (CIS), School of International Service (SIS), and the Kennedy Political Union (KPU) were proud to host a roundtable discussion on the legacy of former Israeli President, Prime Minister, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Shimon Peres, who passed away on September 28th. Peres, Israel's elder statesman, and a champion of Arab-Israeli peacemaking, inaugurated CIS in 1998. The discussion featured form Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, and SIS Professor Guy Ziv, author of Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel.

Israeli Perspectives on the U.S. Elections

Thursday, November 3, 2016

How is the American presidential election perceived by Israelis? How will the election impact the future of the U.S.-Israel alliance? Professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig, an expert on political communication, public relation, and new media, addressed these questions. Professor Lehman-Wilzig is Chair of the School of Communications at Bar-IIan University in Israel. Co-sponsored by the School of Public Affairs. A dessert reception followed this event.

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"The Kibbutz: Ideal, Crisis, Renewal" Conference

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This international conference brought together leading scholars, artists, writers, and activists, who discussed what the kibbutz meant for the shaping of Israel, how it entered its existential crisis, and the forces behind its contemporary renewal. The conference culminated with a screening of Children of the Sun, an award-winning film about the kibbutz and a panel discussion which included the film's director, Ran Tal, and Israeli writer Yael Neeman. Co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, Jewish Studies Program and Department of History.

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Family Feuds: American Jews and Israel

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Panel discussion on the changing relationship between U.S. Jews and Israel which featured:

  • Dov Waxman (Northeaster), author of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel
  • Michael Barnett (GWU), author of The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews
  • Yaron Gamburg, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel

Moderated by Pamela Nadell, Director of Jewish Studies Program. Co-sponsored by Jewish Studies Program and School of Public Affairs. A book-signing followed the discussion.

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SIS Graduate Practicum Report: Finding Cooperation Amid Conflict

Monday, September 12, 2016

Students from the 2016 SIS Summer graduate practicum, "Finding Cooperation Amid Conflict: Israeli-Palestinian Water-Energy-Food Cooperation in the Middle East," presented their research along with their AU faculty advisors, Dr. Eric Abitbol and Dr. Ken Conca. Co-sponsored by the School of International Service Global Environmental Politics Program.

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Is the Land Full? Addressing Overpopulation in Israel

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Alon Tal, a leading academic and veteran Israeli environmental activist, discussed his new book, The Land is Full - Addressing Overpopulation in Israel. Tal discussed the ramification of Israel's extraordinary population increase, including burgeoning pollution, dwindling natural resources, overburdened infrastructure, and overcrowding. Co-sponsored by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Book signing reception followed the discussion.

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Daniel Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Government & Politics ·

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Shares Insights into Middle East at AU

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General Moshe Ya'alon

On Campus ·

Israel and the West in a Changing Middle East

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Assaf Gavron

Department Spotlight ·

New Visiting Israeli Writers Series Hosts Assaf Gavron

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Dignitaries Honor Shimon Peres

In Remembrance ·

Dignitaries Discuss Legacy of Shimon Peres

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